Ancient domesticated remains are oldest in southern Africa

Jul 11, 2012
This photo shows the location of Leopard Cave (Omandumba West, Erongo, Namibia). Credit: Pleurdeau D, Imalwa E, De'troit F, Lesur J, Veldman A, et al. (2012) "Of Sheep and Men": Earliest Direct Evidence of Caprine Domestication in Southern Africa at Leopard Cave (Erongo, Namibia). PLoS ONE 7(7): e40340. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040340

Researchers have found evidence of the earliest known instance of domesticated caprines (sheep and goats) in southern Africa, dated to the end of the first millennium BC, providing new data to the ongoing debate about the origins of domestication and herding practices in this region.

The full results are published July 11 in the open access journal .

The researchers, led by David Pleurdeau of the in Paris and Eugène Marais of the National Museum of Namibia, investigated remains from Leopard Cave in Namibia.

They could not determine whether the remains came from a sheep or goats, but they write that there is no doubt that the teeth came from domesticated animals.

These remains have been found associated with hundreds of archaeological findings, including stone and bone tools as well as beads and few potsherds.

The location and antiquity of the remains may provide further information about the domestication timeline, as well as potential movement patterns, for early herders in the region.

Explore further: Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

More information: Pleurdeau D, Imalwa E, De´ troit F, Lesur J, Veldman A, et al. (2012) ''Of Sheep and Men'': Earliest Direct Evidence of Caprine Domestication in Southern Africa at Leopard Cave (Erongo, Namibia). PLoS ONE 7(7): e40340. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040340

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Archaeologists find earliest known domestic horses

Mar 05, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- An international team of archaeologists has uncovered the earliest known evidence of horses being domesticated by humans. The discovery suggests that horses were both ridden and milked. The ...

Small dogs originated in the Middle East

Feb 23, 2010

A genetic study has found that small domestic dogs probably originated in the Middle East more than 12,000 years ago. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Biology traced the evolutionary histor ...

Saudi find shows horses used 9,000 years ago

Aug 25, 2011

Saudi Arabia has found traces of a civilisation that was domesticating horses about 9,000 years ago, 4,000 years earlier than previously thought, the kingdom said.

Recommended for you

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

7 hours ago

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

Apr 17, 2014

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

Apr 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.